I was back in my hometown recently, where I health coached and taught for over 20 years. I missed my clients so I decided to take some of them out for tea and dessert. I thought for a minute the dessert…
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer disease. Unfortunately, the incidence of Parkinson’s disease has not declined, and its impact is seen in all races. This is due in part to the fact that the population of the world is greater than ever before and increasing. In addition, people are living longer than in previous generations, and the baby boomer generation, one of the largest generations in history, has reached old age.
Risk factors for Parkinson’s disease include:
Age: Risk of Parkinson’s disease increases with age. The average age of onset for this disease is 55 years and the rate of incidence increases steadily until the age of 90.
Gender: Men have a higher risk for Parkinson’s disease than women.
Family history: Individuals with a family history of Parkinson’s disease are at a higher risk for Parkinson’s disease. Moreover, it is said that those with affected first-degree relatives double their risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Agricultural work: Individuals exposed to pesticides and herbicides have a greater risk of developing Parkinson’s disease symptoms. Drinking well-water and living in rural areas have also been associated with an increased incidence of Parkinson’s disease.
Head Trauma: Head trauma can be a risk factor for Parkinson’s disease as is seen in the case of boxers. One study showed that trauma to the upper cervical region, head, and neck was a risk factor for Parkinson’s disease. However, in some cases it took years for these symptoms to appear.
The exact cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown. Regarding the molecular events that lead to the development of this disease, there is still some uncertainty in terms of what causes the neurodegeneration seen in Parkinson’s disease. The current hypothesis is that Parkinson’s disease may result from the interaction between environmental factors and genetic susceptibility.
The primary symptoms for PD are deficiencies in motor performance due to the loss of the dopamine pathways in the brain. Decreased dopamine production in the substantia nigra in the brain causes the 4 primary motor symptoms:
- Bradykinesia: described as slowness in the execution of movements while performing daily activities.
- Rigidity or Stiffness: caused by an involuntary increase in tone of the limbs and axial musculature.
- Resting Tremor: Found primarily in the arms and hands and can be socially bothersome. Resting tremors are less disabling since they often vanish with the initiation of activity (especially in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease).
- Postural Instability: manifested in a slow speed of walking, shortened stride length, narrowing of base of support, and leaning towards one side.
Exercise should be targeted for the primary motor symptoms with exercise and occupational therapy to improve quality of life. Recommended program components include:
- Posture, gait, mobility
- Fall risk reduction
- Cardiorespiratory health
- Strength and function
- Depression and Anxiety
- Joint health
Exercise prescription for clients with PD includes: (ACSM)
- An individualized program
- Cardiorespiratory: use guidelines for healthy adults
- Muscular Fitness: use guidelines for healthy adults
- Flexibility: slow, static exercises for all major and minor joints in the body including the upper torso, spine, and neck.
- Neuromotor Exercises: help with balance, gait, and postural instability. Clinicians use a gait belt or parallel bars to ensure safety depending on the severity of the symptoms. Include functional exercises to improve ADLs and quality of life.
PD exercise therapy includes intervention with many kinds of exercise modes. Both personal training and group fitness have been successful in helping to manage the disease and reduce the symptoms. There is not strong evidence at this point to show that exercise prevents PD, but it is believed that exercise may play a role. Exercise is however the mainstay for symptom management and slowing disease development.
Want more on this topic? Register for June’s upcoming webinar:
June M. Chewning BS, MA has been in the fitness industry since 1978 serving as a physical education teacher, group fitness instructor, personal trainer, gym owner, master trainer, adjunct college professor, curriculum formatter and developer, and education consultant. She is the education specialist at Fitness Learning Systems, a continuing education company.
References and Resources:
The hardest time of year for weight management is from Halloween until Valentine’s Day – temptations are everywhere from home to the workplace and everywhere else you go, people wear more clothes and are more covered up because of the weather, and people tend to exercise less because they are stressed, exhausted, it is cold, and they have very little time. Here are some tips to manage weight during the holiday season:
- Eat something before you go out so that you are not inclined to eat everything or anything in sight.
- Stock your home, office, and/or car with healthy snacks such as fruit in your home, almonds in your office, and a nutrition bar in your car.
- Plan on making healthy choices for your meals such as mustard instead of mayonnaise or light Italian rather than ranch dressing.
- Make a list of stress relieving activities that do not include food or eating such as getting a massage, exercising, listening to music, or talking on the phone.
- If you are attending a pot-luck party, bring something healthy so you know there will be at least one healthy choice at the party.
- Eat small portions of your favorite sweets at parties.
- Try to fill your plate with mostly fruits and veggies at parties.
- If you want to try new dishes, only take a taster size portion so that you are not tempted to eat more than you should. Then go back and get more of what you like if you are still hungry.
- Drink a glass of water after each glass of soda or alcoholic beverage in order to cut beverage calories in half.
- Focus on socializing with other guests rather than eating the food available.
- If you know you will not have time to exercise, try to fit other small activities into your day such as parking farther away, taking the stairs, and putting the shopping cart away instead of putting it to the side.
- If you have a stationary bicycle or a treadmill that you haven’t used for a while, take it out and put it in front of the TV, so you can watch TV when you work out.
- Take a walk alone or with your spouse, kids, or other family and friends after dinner.
Kristy Richardson is a dietitian and exercise physiologist, specializing in sports nutrition and weight management, She is the founder of OC Nutrition and also works as a nutrition professor at Fullerton College.
Cleveland Clinic. (2009). 8 Steps to Surviving the Holiday Weight Gain. Retrieved December 22, 2009 from: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/prevention/nutrition/holidayeating12_01.aspx
Zamora, Dulce. (2007). Holiday weight management; Surviving the Feasting Season. Retrieved December 22, 2009 from: http://www.medicinenet.com/holiday_weight_management/article.html
Millions of Americans suffer from some form of gastrointestinal disorder. In fact, as many as 45 million Americans have irritable bowel syndrome. There are many different kinds of GI disorders—and different ways to treat them. It can be a painful and disruptive way to live, and people often suffer for years without realizing the real source of the problem is digestive in nature. If you are experiencing chronic heartburn, bowel discomfort, persistent diarrhea, or severe cramping, you may have a serious digestive problem and should consult your doctor.
If you are someone who experiences digestive ailments, know there are plenty of ways to effectively address them through diet, exercise, and other natural methods. Gut health plays a critical role in our overall well-being, so making sure you take the steps to optimize your digestive health is imperative. Here are some common ailments, as well as strategies that can help alleviate the associated symptoms.
When harmful bacteria is dominant in the GI tract, the gut is in a state of imbalance, also known as dysbiosis. While the optimal solution is to achieve balance between beneficial and harmful bacteria, it can be a problematic situation for many people. Bloating is one of the more unpleasant symptoms, but this can be treated with probiotics.
Acid reflux is a condition in which stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, causing severe discomfort and, over time, damage to the esophagus. Other symptoms include nausea, chest pain, tooth erosion, bad breath, and trouble breathing or swallowing. There are a number of approaches a patient can implement, including weight loss, not overeating, emphasizing low-carb foods (which inhibits bacterial overgrowth caused by undigested carbs), minimizing carbonated drinks, and limiting alcohol and coffee intake.
Crohn’s Disease is an inflammatory bowel condition thought to be caused by family history and genetics, though the precise causes are unknown. It’s a painful condition with symptoms that may include diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fever, weight loss, and abdominal pain. While anti-inflammatories are typically used to treat Crohn’s, there are several natural approaches that have worked for Crohn’s sufferers. Wild oregano oil is sometimes used to get rid of disease-causing bacteria and viruses, while probiotics can be helpful, taken in amounts high enough to have a therapeutic effect.
Irritable bowel syndrome
IBS is a common problem among Americans, who may experience diarrhea, painful dry stools, or loose stools. Bloating is another problem commonly associated with IBS which, as mentioned, can be treated with probiotics found in live yogurt. Symptoms are generally treated through diet—with an emphasis on low-fat, high-fiber foods—and by avoiding dairy, alcohol, caffeine, and foods that tend to produce gas.
Diverticulitis is caused by small pouches formed in the colon. The condition occurs when these pouches become inflamed, which can cause severe abdominal pain and fever. Since obesity is considered a major risk factor, exercise is usually indicated as a form of treatment. A severe attack may require treatment with antibiotics and a liquid diet that allows the colon to heal. This can also help prevent the need for surgery to treat or remove the impacted portion of the colon. Dietary modifications include an increase in vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
Gallstones are hard deposits that form in the gallbladder, an organ involved in digestion. There are about 1 million new cases of gallstones diagnosed each year in the United States, according to the American Gastroenterological Association. It’s a condition associated with high amounts of cholesterol or excessive waste in the patient’s bile.
Some gallstone patients have success treating gallstones by drinking apple juice or using apple cider vinegar to cleanse the system. Milk thistle, which is available in pill form, may also be effective in treating gallstones naturally. Studies have shown that regular exercise, such as running or walking, can help prevent the development of gallstones.
The millions of Americans who live with some form of intestinal disorder struggle with unpredictable pain and digestive problems. They are manageable conditions that are difficult to cure. However, a combination of natural treatment methods, diet, and exercise can make a significant difference for patients.
Henry Moore is the co-creator of FitWellTraveler. The site blends two of his favorite subjects (travel and health) to provide readers with information about how to get the most out of both.
References: https://plexusworldwide.com/sunnyshare/trust-your-gut/probiotics-bloating  https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/146619.php  https://www.healthline.com/health/crohns-disease/alternative-treatments  https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diverticulitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20371758  https://www.gastro.org/practice-guidance/gi-patient-center/conditions
One of the most powerful tools in any coach’s arsenal is his or her knowledge of which coaching techniques to apply to a given situation and how to apply them to best meet clients’ needs. “Sharpening the saw,” or continually honing one’s skills, ensures coaches are on top of the most effective practices.
Learning new skills and coaching techniques is easier than ever through eLearning–educational programs delivered online. Online courses are more accessible, less expensive and faster to master than traditional educational programs. And best of all, they can be taken at the learner’s convenience, 24/7/365.
So how does eLearning help coaches sharpen their saw? In his mega-bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Franklin Covey describes “sharpening the saw” as a way of “preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have–you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.”
By engaging in eLearning to expand their knowledge of proven, effective practices, coaches can treat clients with a wider variety of issues. These same practices also work on the coach! Taking online training gives coaches the opportunity to see their own issues, in each of the four areas mentioned by Covey, from a fresh perspective, making them better practitioners and better people in general.
Approaching eLearning not only as a tool to gain skills as a coach, but also as a way to live to one’s full potential provides extra motivation when taking online courses and makes “sharpening the saw” more fun!
Reprinted with permission from the SoleLife Blog.
Nichole Lowe is a board certified Health Coach, Educator and Presenter. She is the Founder and CEO of SOLELIFE™. SOLELIFE™ is an online training platform that offers proven advanced training for coaches and health practitioners in Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) to improve its customers’ client results and grow their referral business. It’s an all-in-one solution for professional coaches where they can learn new skills, connect with peers, and gain valuable industry knowledge in a first-ever fully social eLearning platform.
If you’re interested in learning more about DBT, SOLELIFE offers a free course, Understanding DBT.
You are having dinner with a friend and notice a softball-sized protrusion on the left side of your friend’s head. Do you inquire about your observation? Maybe you make jokes? Or, perhaps you choose to remain silent.
When we experience or witness cognitive declines, we meet them with resistance and say: “Dang it. Where the heck are my keys?” Or, “Idiot. I hate when I can’t remember.” Or, “Geez, how many times do we have to have this conversation?”
Sometimes, we say nothing.
Silence speaks unkindly.
Despite popular beliefs about cognitive decline being a natural concomitant of the aging process, the National Institute of Health on Aging reminds us that “age-related changes in cognition are not uniform across all cognitive domains or even across all [people ages 65 and greater.]” There is tremendous variability in cognitive functioning among people who comprise this heterogenous group – humans who’s ages are 65 and greater.
And when cognitive shifts do present, often as an inability to remember recently learned information, important dates or repeating questions – we, yet again, opt for silence.
Or, we ignore, deny, hide and humor.
It is estimated that 60% of female and 70% of male Americans will live dementia free lives.
In a fear-based culture, one that favors an us vs. them mindset, these sorts of comforting statistics do not readily capture our attention. Instead, we glom onto facts such as: “There are 5.4 million Alzheimer’s patients in the United States.” For these millions of Americans, their existence is described as “terrible,” “they’ve been robbed of their memories,” and “this is just devastating.” These stories are of loss, wrapped in loss, and suspended by more loss.
Yes. It has been suggested that in the brains of people affected by Alzheimer’s (as determined by autopsy), there is evidence of diminished neural connections, brain atrophy or surface area decreases, neurofibrillary tangles and cellular death. This is just to name a few of the potential losses evidenced in the brain.
However, these changes are often foreshadowed by present-day behaviors and interactions presented by people affected by Alzheimer’s. When we talk about how terrible Alzheimer’s is, this has the potential to inform and shape people’s experiences. How different would our experiences be if we used language of strength and resilience and gratitude to frame the story of cognitive transformations?
What if we begin the story from a different vantage point? A story that begins by us listening rather than narrating. One that holds as the hero of the story the one who is directly affected by Alzheimer’s.
When I read statistics on the number of people in the U.S. affected by Alzheimer’s, I interpret this as the number of possible teachers waiting for class to begin. Yes. People affected by Alzheimer’s have much to teach.
We have much to learn. We know so very little. We could equate our knowledge with the measurement of animals from largest to smallest. Our knowledge is equivalent to that of a tiny crustacean, a Stygotantulus, that measures a tenth of a millimeter in length.
When we stop fearing them and start seeing them as us, maybe then we will be ready for class to begin. Maybe then we will begin to learn.
These teachers hold valuable gifts in the realm of practicing present moment awareness. We could only hope to be so lucky to be chosen to be a teacher.
When we show up for class, with a mindset of not-knowing, perhaps then we can begin to meet cognitive transformations with curiosity, rather than resistance, and begin saying: “Deep breath in, my keys are temporarily out of sight?” Or “Gosh, I wonder how long this will last?” Or “Curious. It appears to me that for you this is the first time we are having this conversation?”
If you’re not ready for class to begin, this is perfectly fine.
Please though, say something to your friend when you notice a softball-sized protrusion that presents as forgetting important dates.
Choose to speak kinder than silence. These are gifts.
Adrienne Ione is a dynamic, mindful, high-fiving, cognitive behavioral therapist, certified dementia specialist and senior personal trainer. Founder of Silver Linings Integrative Health, a company with an aim of promoting health, fitness and wellbeing opportunities for people to thrive across the lifespan.
The human body undergoes a lot of changes during its lifetime. From infancy to old age, there are biochemical processes in the body that define these changes.
Some of them are visible externally, such as the greying of hair, skin becoming less supple, etc.
But beneath all of this, some processes happen to make all of this possible.
Metabolism is defined as the chemical reactions that occur to keep the body functional.
Although metabolism does decrease during old age, this effect can be slowed down by exercising and staying fit.
Metabolism is influenced by four major factors:
- Resting Metabolic Rate – This is the number of calories that you burn while you’re in a state of rest. This is the least amount of energy that you need to keep functioning.
- Thermic Effect of Food – This is the number of calories that you burn by digesting and absorbing food.
- Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis – The number of calories that you burn by small actions that are not defined as an exercise. Ex: Casual walking, washing dishes, etc.
- Exercise – This is the number of calories that you burn through active exercise.
Through active exercise, you can sustain your metabolism while aging. This does not prevent it, but delays the onset and reduces the impact.
Genetic Changes During Aging
Throughout a person’s lifetime, their cells are exposed to harmful environments, continuously damaging them. This reduces the body’s capacity to heal from injury and regrow dead cells. This damage to the cells also damages the DNA.
While DNA can replicate, it’s not infinite.
It’s limited by Telomeres.
Telomeres are protein complexes that cap the end of linear DNA strands. During replication of DNA strands, Telomeres do not replicate. Instead, they stretch themselves out between the newly created strands. Because of this, there are a limited number of times that DNA can replicate.
It’s been observed that there’s a direct correlation between the shortening of telomeres and the production of somatic stem cells throughout the course of aging. This shortening of telomeres is what causes a large number of age-related diseases in humans.
Hormonal Changes During Aging
Hormones cause significant changes while the human body ages.
Before adulthood, there’s a substantial increase in the production of the growth hormone in the human body.
After attaining adulthood, the production of this hormone is reduced and ultimately declines as the person grows older.
Tropic hormones rise during puberty. This hormone increases the production of sex steroids and growth hormones. It’s been observed that the decline of Growth Hormone reduces by 15% for every ten years in adulthood.
Sleep is also a factor in hormonal changes during aging.
Without adequate sleep, hormonal imbalances have been known to occur, when compared to individuals who get a proper amount of sleep regularly.
In men, it’s been found that there is a significant reduction in the production of testosterone as they age.
This commonly happens during Andropause. This reduction in testosterone is attributed to the loss of libido, depression, the decline in cognitive ability, and loss of muscle mass and strength.
This can be slowed to an extent through an active exercise to maintain muscle mass. But it’s not entirely preventable.
The reason for this reduction in the production of testosterone is because of the reduced hypothalamic secretion in the pituitary gland. Although this can be treated with Androgen replacement therapy, it is usually only reserved for those with an abnormal change in their testosterone levels.
In women, the balance of hormones changes during menopause. Common symptoms of menopause include “hot flashes,” mood swings, and problems with sleeping.
Menopause typically happens to women in their mid-forties. Their bodies start making less of the female sex hormone, Estrogen. Because of this, their menstrual cycles slow down, become less regular, and eventually stop altogether. This signifies the end of the woman’s fertility.
When a woman has her last period that is when her menopause begins. In addition to the end of menstrual cycles, the walls of her vagina will also dry up and thin.
Both Andropause and menopause cannot be completely stopped, but the loss of hormones can be reduced with hormone replacement therapy. This is done by artificially injecting hormones like estrogen and testosterone into the person’s body.
Exercise can lessen the impact of this to an extent, but it is not entirely preventable. It’s a natural cycle that happens to everyone.
Slowing Down the Effects of Aging
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to prevent the effects of aging. It’s a natural process that cannot be stopped. But it can be reduced to a great extent with controllable factors.
But for most people, a healthy and balanced diet with proper exercise can keep the effects of aging from impacting them too adversely. You can follow this at any age, and it isn’t restricted to only those that are beginning to feel the signs of aging.
Loss of muscle mass is a significant aspect of aging, and continuous exercise can help keep muscles from degenerating from loss of testosterone. A proper protein diet also helps, since this ensures that there’s an adequate supply of protein for the human body to repair damaged cells. 
Talk to your doctor about a proper exercise regimen for you to arrive on a schedule that is suited to your requirements.
Maintaining this should help prolong your lifespan while minimizing the adverse effects of aging.
Jill Roberts, is an owner and editor of Wellness Geeky Health & Wellness Publication. She and her team dedicated to provide readers and clients with most reliable Health information. She holds Master’s Degree in Molecular Biology and PHD in Epidemiology and Clinical Research. She also worked as an editors for European Medical publication (European Medical Journal) for 7 years.
In 32 years (2050), we will be dealing with major food issues. By then, the global population will have grown from today’s 7.6 billion people to 10 billion people (not due to lots of new babies, due mainly to longer lifespans related to better health care and nutrition). We will need 60% more food than is available today. To do so, farmers will need to increase crop yield, use water more effectively, and feed animals more efficiently. The agricultural industry is working hard on that—and climate change complicates it all.
As athletes, we like having plenty of food to eat and clean water to drink. Hence, we want to think about how we can invest in a sustainable future with our food and lifestyle practices. While we may suffer less from food shortages than will the people and athletes in less developed countries, we won’t be able to escape these environmental problems:
- oppressive heat that not only damages crops but also drains the fun from playing outdoor sports, like soccer and tennis;
- storms that disrupt plane travel for sports teams, as well as the flights of thousands of recreational athletes going to, let’s say, New York City for a marathon;
- floods that ruin farms and crops, as well as playing fields;
- droughts that kill crops, golf courses, and gardens.
The timely topic of sustainable diets and animal agriculture was prominent at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food & Nutrition Convention & Expo (#FNCE). The message was clear: We are facing the urgent need to curb greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE) to reduce our carbon footprint and invest in our future well-being. Here’s some of what I learned from speakers Frank Mitloehner PhD, professor and air quality specialist at the University of California-Davis, and Amy Myrdal Miller RD of Farmer’s Daughter Consulting. Perhaps this information will nudge you to think more about how your food and lifestyle choices impact the climate—and inspire you to make some changes.
Waste less food.
Up to 40% of the food we produce gets wasted. About 16% of that happens at the farm (e.g., sick animals not treated with antibiotics, unharvested crops due to labor shortages or “ugly” produce); 40% happens in food service and restaurants, and 43% in our homes. Who among us hasn’t tossed out “ugly” apples, over-ripe bananas, and perfectly good leftovers? A huge contributor to food waste is the “best used by” date on food packages. Please note: the “best used by” date is not a “don’t eat this” expiration date, but rather a marker for quality and freshness.
Wasted food required energy to be produced and then transported to your supermarket (and landfill). Wasted food takes up 21% of precious (and limited) landfill space; this represents the largest percentage of all waste in US landfills. As it rots, creates the greenhouse gas methane.
To reduce food waste, you want to shop carefully, use leftovers, and compost food scraps. Restaurants, colleges, and other quantity food producers need to figure out how to find a meaningful home for leftovers, such as by donating to food pantries, if permitted.
Eat less animal protein.
Farm animals produce methane, so reducing the demand for meat is another way to help the environment. Yet it is not the biggest way to help. That’s because meat/food production is not the leading cause of GHGE, despite what you might have read repeatedly in the recent past. Hence, you do not need to become vegan unless you truly want to do so. If everyone were to eat a vegan diet every day, GHGE might drop only 2.6%. But you do want to eat meat less often and in smaller portions. If all Americans honored Meatless Mondays, the drop in GHGE in the US would be 0.5%. While not the cure-all for carbon emissions, every little bit helps!
Instead of blaming farm animals for being methane producers, the far bigger sources of GHGE are from the burning of oil, coal, and natural gas (fossil fuels). The environmental benefits of eating less animal protein of any type pales in comparison to the benefits from reducing fossil fuel use. Using fossil fuels to create electricity accounts for 30% of all GHGE. Transportation accounts for 26%, and industry, 21%. Agriculture contributes to only 9%, and animal agriculture alone, about 4% of all GHGE in America. (This number includes the carbon footprint of animals from birth to being consumed.) To put this in perspective, a recent study showed that switching from a meat-based to a vegan diet for one year equates to the GHGE of one trans-Atlantic flight from the US to Europe.
Educate yourself about the pros and cons of grass-fed beef.
With conventional agriculture, corn-finished cattle are generally raised on pastureland first for about 10 to 12 months, and then finished on a corn-based diet for the last 4 months to optimize marbling. Grass-finished cattle spend a total of 26 to 30 months on pastureland before they are slaughtered. All of that time, they are making manure, belching from the high fiber grass diet, and releasing methane. Corn-fed cattle produce far less methane and are content to eat the corn when well-balanced into their diet. (Yes, I know there are other reasons you might want to choose grass-fed cattle. I’m just talking sustainability here.)
Another way to reduce GHGE might be to start considering the possibility of eating protein-rich insects. I admit, I’m not there yet—but they are a sustainable source of protein. We just need more research to learn about the digestibility and bioavailability of insect protein—and how to make it yummy.
Solving the world’s impending food (and water) crisis is a huge global issue. We need governments around the world to look holistically at the complex interplay between the environment and food production systems. While we need to work together globally, each of us can act locally. How about biking more, driving less and wasting less food, as well as eating less meat? The next generation will thank us.
Nancy Clark, MS, RD counsels both casual and competitive athletes at her office in the Boston-area (Newton; 617-795-1875). Her best selling Sports Nutrition Guidebook and food guides for cyclists, marathoners, and soccer players offer additional information. They are available at www.NancyClarkRD.com. For her popular online workshop, see www.NutritionSportsExerciseCEUs.com.
In a previous article about A Paradigm Shift to Personal Responsibility, I set up the premise that the healthcare system is technologically driven and derives its results through partnerships with the insurance industry, government, pharmaceutical industry, medical profession and the hospitals that deliver services to patients.
Given the complexity of the system, patients have have to learn to navigate it to get the proper guidance, access and information from the right people at the right time for the right results. Moreover, the system is laden with traps in the form of its many “hidden” extra costs which means that going down the wrong route can turn into an expensive mistakes. Therefore, I believe that people need to become educated on the value of prevention by living a life that represents the core values of “wellness” and all that this word has come to mean over the past two decades.
A Definition of Wellness
In 1993, I prepared a presentation for the Association of Human Resource Professionals entitled “Improving Health in The Workplace”. I designed it as a proposal to encourage corporate managers to see the value and importance of prevention through the eyes of the employee in partnership with the company. My intention was to develop a “win-win” model whereby the company enhanced employees’ lives by investing in programs that would help create a “workplace health consciousness”. This would assist people in making healthier choices thereby improving productivity and performance. The company would benefit in the form of fewer days of work missed and the cost of healthcare would decline as well.
Needless to say, the presentation did not net me any new corporate clients but it did yield a couple of wonderful personal training clients. My thought process was focused on personal health and fitness services delivered on site, but being a single fitness provider the idea was probably too impractical to pursue. My presentation focused on the individual and its takeaway messages was:
We are what we eat, we are what we think, we are what we do, we are what we feel, and finally we are what we believe.
My idea was that if we become healthy in our thinking and expression first, then our bodies will follow suit: our new thought patterns will foster the adoption of new attitudes and behaviors. This model is just as true today as it was back in 1993 because wellness is not fitness – it is a consciousness of health that is ingrained in what we value most about our life and what that means to us.
The Values of Wellness and Prevention
I think it only fair to share with you my vision statement because it goes to the heart of why I am a proponent of healthy aging and believe prevention comes from “within” us as we focus on our choices while living in the present.
Healthy aging is a consciousness issue. It is not merely the death of our cells but is a complex and dynamic process that is grounded in CHANGE as life unfolds for each of us. The challenge, as I see it, is in discovering the potential that lies within us to become all we were meant to be – mentally, physically, and spiritually. This potential can carry us to living a life of fulfillment, peace, and prosperity if we remain PRESENT during each moment of our life – living consciously. Learning about who we are from the “inside-out” while acting upon our choices in the present, enables and empowers us to live a life of great accomplishment. This is my vision of a world that is possible.
I see now that what I envisioned for healthy aging will disappear in the world of the iPhone and other technologies if we do not become active players in the awareness of our own body and other sources that can control our thoughts and other processes. The goal of prevention is to “catch” the stressors BEFORE they create “dis-ease” in the body causing chronic conditions such as cancer. The problem is that the tests and the other “preventative” measures being used today only catch problems AFTER they have started to take hold in our bodies.
The Power of Five
1. The Power of Thought: Thinking is life. What we think we become. Everything in life evolves from thought. From this power comes our imagination, affirmations and ability to visualize outcomes. Dreams come from our thoughts. Disneyland was once a thought in Walt Disney’s mind. If we are staring at our phones over 200 times a day (which has been tested), we are missing out on our life and the changes that are occurring right before our eyes.
2. The Power of Change: “Change is the only constant in the natural order” as one of my favorite teachers taught me back in 1982. How we deal with change and address the challenges that change brings, plays a key role in whether we can go with the flow – or remain stuck where we are. Comfort zones keep us trapped in the place where change becomes almost impossible to embrace, but if we learn to let go of the past and embrace who we are in the present, life becomes so much more rewarding. “Go with the flow” is the best advice I can give when dealing with ALL change – it makes life so much easier and rewarding.
3. The Power of Choice: Choice is the real point of power in life. We “choose” every day of our life: whether we to go to work, go to the store, play with our kids or plan our futures. The point of making choices in the present is to create what you want from your life – and in your life. If you choose your health you will become active without excuses. You will eat well. You will entertain uplifting and loving thoughts. You will express yourself gently to those you love. You will not demand but forgive. You will value your every experience and be grateful for your gifts. This is to choose life in all its wonder and potential happiness.
4. The Power of Belief: Believing in yourself is always the place to begin. Believing in your potential to accomplish great things and to make a difference in the world takes work but it is possible with proper reflection and thought. “If you can conceive and believe, you can achieve”. This is true in all areas of life. Take responsibility for your beliefs and if they need to be altered or replaced – do so. Don’t wait until you are sick and tired and finally unable to believe at all in something more than your own life. Affirmations, meditation and reflection in quiet moments are ways to check in on your current beliefs. If you believe in yourself, anything is possible.
5. The Power of Consciousness: “The mind of man is unlimited in its potential and responds to specific demands made upon it”. This is another statement of belief I hold. I believe in opening my mind to new ideas and thoughts. I can create new and exciting ideas and some of these become realities in the world. This very piece of writing was an idea that is now materialised in the world to inspire others. My consciousness is one of hope and faith that I am being guided to create programs that will help people of all ages grow in consciousness so that they too can benefit from the ideas that others shared with me over the past 40 years.
Living in the present is challenging given the world we live in and all the demands that are placed upon us. We are on call 24/7 if we choose to let ourselves be taken in that direction. I refuse to let myself get taken into the world as Steve Jobs envisioned it. His world is not my world. I believe in the freedom to create my life by making the choices that are appropriate for me at any given time. Make your choices consciously and respond to your life and the changes it brings you by not resisting them. Be open and receptive to them. Thinking is the key. Think “through” your life. Do NOT react to outside pressures. Only then you will be able to enjoy the journey. This is true prevention.
Originally printed on HealthyNewAge.com. Reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop.
Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach, a fitness professional with over 25 years of experience whose passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.
If you need help in designing a fitness plan, you can contact Nicholas Prukop via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or read his inspiring book Healthy Aging & YOU